A year ago, I made a very hard decision. I decided to sell my big, beautiful pottery studio and build a small studio on our home property.

It had been something I had been thinking about for several years and was just too scared to make the decision. Much as I love change, the thought of going thru the selling process and eventually the “pack all the crap up into boxes and move it” process was quite overwhelming.

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Selling my pottery studio
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Selling my pottery studio
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It was a hard decision to sell my big pottery studio and condense it down to under 300 sq ft.

Plus, I had my two studio cats, Max and Emily, to worry about. What would I do with them? We have three dogs at home, and I feared that introducing cats into the mix would be an adventure.

At the time we had a home in town, but we had built a small 1-bedroom cabin on a sweet and quiet fishing lake in Arkansas. Since we lived on the border of Oklahoma and Arkansas, our home, our cabin and the studio were only 1/2-hour drive apart so commuting wasn’t an issue but my husband, Ben, and I really wanted to make the full-time commitment to living at the lake and I wanted a home studio where I could retire and just play in clay.

Having a big, wonderful studio was great while I was building my business, but it was now time to retire and enjoy the rest of my life.

So, I woke up one day last May and said, “that’s it…. I am done, it’s time to retire!” I called a realtor who came out with all the comps, we discussed the sale, listed it and by the weekend I had two full price offers!

Whoa…..it was really happening.

It was almost too quick; I wasn’t expecting that, and I certainly wasn’t prepared! Now I had to think about selling off and donating some equipment and getting a new studio!

That weekend we went portable building shopping and found a great 12×24 building with three lofts that looked like a little barn that I thought would be perfect for my new (and much smaller) Studio.  We placed our order, had it insulated, painted green and added extra windows!

My new pottery studio at the factory being built
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My new pottery studio at the factory being built
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Here was my first view of my new studio at the factory being built!

I loved it but was pretty scared…. would all my stuff fit.

Once it was delivered and placed on our property the electrician was called. Because we were doing this at a time that everything was super expensive running the electric was a tad more expensive than I hoped and even the electrician apologized for the high cost. With a kiln though, I wanted to make sure it was done right.

The inside of my pottery studio when I first got it
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The inside of my pottery studio when I first got it
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This is what the inside of the portable building looked like when it first showed up

After the electricians finished it was time to bring in some drywallers.

Dry-walling my new pottery studio
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Dry-walling my new pottery studio
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The drywall is going up in the new pottery studio…aka Creative Crib!

Once the drywall was up it was time for me to put on an old t-shirt and stained pants and paint the walls. I chose blue on one side and green on the other and tried to blend them together the best I could.

Now the moving began in earnest.

i only had 45 days originally but it took at least 3 weeks for the electric, drywall and painting so I had some bustling to do. By now, I had sold two of my three wheels, my pugmill and my big slab roller table. I KNEW they would not fit!  I had also gathered up some tools, books, and molds and donated them to a local pottery school. I hadn’t made anything new which allowed me to have reduced inventory!! I reduced my glaze buckets, stashed stuff into boxes, and continued to worry if all this would fit.

We made the move one small truck load at a time, and I tell you what…. I was pooped. I was beat. I was exhausted. But I also was thrilled to death that I now had a place to work at home where I could enjoy my home, my husband, and the critters.

I called it my “CREATIVE CRIB” because I could see me doing so much more than pottery in my little she shed.  I could play with torch fired enameling and have a place to chill out and do some wire weaving.

It wasn’t all that easy fitting everything into the new pottery studio.

Me standing in the middle of my studio
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Me standing in the middle of my studio
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This was my original layout. It worked but not perfectly. I have since rearranged to my work style.

But I did it and here I am, a year later, and I have finally got everything in place, just the way I like it.  It took a while; I was forever moving things around.  My biggest hurdle now was water. At the old studio I had a sink in the pottery and a sink in the glaze room. In my new studio I don’t have running water!  What I have found works fine for me is several buckets of water that every few weeks I clean out and refill. I also scrounged up a water dispenser that uses a 5-gallon bottle of water which I also refill. Whenever I need a small amount of clean water, I have it. The nice thing about this too, is that in the winter I can get hot water from the dispenser to use for throwing water!!

I also loved that I have three lofts. Not only did it give me lower ceilings for lighting, I also provided plenty of storage space for show tents, packing materials, empty buckets and anything else I didnt need right away. I keep an 6 foot ladder handy, which is tucked away between two shelving units, to get up there.

One of the biggest benefits of reducing my studio size was that it has actually allowed me to be more creative. Without all the extra bills that were attached to the old studio, insurance, internet, water, electricity, I can concentrate on making more of what I want, experiment more or even take some time off to read a book or go fishing!

Follow Me

Dani Montoya - Potter
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My name is Dani and I am the potter behind this page! I am retired and having a ball being the artist I always wanted to be. My studio is located in NW Arkansas where I live a quiet life, on a lake with my husband, 3 dogs and two cats.

Have a look around!

LED Shop Lights


hykolity 4 Pack 4FT LED Shop Light, Linkable Utility Shop Lights, 42W, 5000K Daylight White Shop Light for Garages, Workshops,Hanging or FlushMount, Power Cord with Pull Chain Switch, ETL
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Do you need some extra lighting in your studio? I bought these and I couldn't be happier. They are lightweight but really bright. There is basically no installation. You can hang them or screw them into place. You can even plug them into each other so they turn on altogether. Plus they are LED which means they will last a really long time and use little electricity.
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Caliper Plastic Clay Measuring Pottery Tool

Healifty Bent Leg Caliper Plastic Clay Measuring Pottery Tool Clay Sculpture Ceramic Tool for Carving Shaping Clay Sculpture Modeling 6inch Red
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These are great when you need to have two pieces fit together nicelu....like lidded jars! I have two and they are always in use
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Shimpo Whisper Potters Wheel

Shimpo VL-Whisper Potters Wheel
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Shimpo VL-Whisper Potters Wheel
This is the potter's wheel I have, and I absolutely love it. It's a bit pricey so if you can swing it, I do recommend it.  You may be able to find one used, which is how I bought mine.

Vacmaster Pro 8 gallon Certified Hepa Filtration Wet/Dry Vac

Vacmaster Pro 8 gallon Certified Hepa Filtration Wet/Dry Vac,Black
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Keeping a clean work area is not only good for our creativity but also for our health. You have to be very careful about breathing in clay dust since it's mostly silica. Mopping regularly is highly recommended but what about the nooks and crannies!!!  I bought this Hepa Vacuum for my studio and I love it. It's powerful and is a Certified HEPA System (99. 97% efficient on .3 microns). The High-Efficiency Dust collection Bag holds a ton of debris and dust so you can vacuum for a pretty long time before replacing it.

There is also a smaller one now too.

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Skutt Kiln Vent

Skutt Envirovent Kiln Vent System
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I have been using this Venting System on my L&L for years. It works great. Just because its a Skutt doesn't mean you can't use it with other kilns!
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Phone Tripod Mount with Remote 360 Rotation

Phone Tripod Mount with Remote 360 Rotation Smartphone Holder Adapter Compatible with iPhone 11 Pro Xs Max XR X 8 7 6 6s Plus Samsung Nexus
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Phone Tripod mount. I bought this to convert my camera tripod to one that will hold my phone. It even comes with a Bluetooth remote that allows you to take a photo with your phone without touching your phone
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Digital Scale

Etekcity 0.1g Food Kitchen Scale, Digital Ounces and Grams for Cooking, Baking, Meal Prep, Dieting, and Weight Loss, 11 Pounds, Black
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This is the scale I use for both weighing out glaze material and to weight packages for shipping. I love that the display is angled away from the weighting tray making it easy to read. Metric and Imperial weighing.
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1 Comment

  1. Teretta Owen (Okie Pottery)
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    That’s really cool. I also have been in my new studio space. I different from you though used to make pottery in our uninsulated shop building. In the winter I threw in a tent so I could heat it easier lol. Now I’m on our back porch that we enclosed. I was thinking of getting a building like you got though smaller, or building a small room in our shop building. While my husband and I were talking he made the suggestion that we could enclose the back porch that was currently a screened in porch on two sides. The other two walls were the brick walls of the house. That made a lot of sense to both of us. The kiln remained in the shop though, which is fine though I’d like it inside better than walking to the shop with my items lol. Good luck in the future.

    Reply

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